There isn’t any disputing that as a parent, the decision to send your children to boarding school is a significant one. It will undoubtedly leave you torn as you may be separated for long periods but appreciate that it is in the best interests of their education. Of course, boarding schools offer so much more than mere education. They prepare students for adulthood, helping them build resilience, independence, resourcefulness, and perhaps most importantly, self-confidence.
It is vital that an appropriate environment is created, where students can mature and develop taking part in activities rather than sitting in front of electronic devices, which impact their social interactions. As the only British International boarding school in Hong Kong, we create an environment where children and young adults are engaged and active with 24-hour care on hand if required. Students learn to become independent in supportive surroundings. So, what are the benefits aside from the excellent pastoral care that they will receive?
They will receive a world-class education
For most parents, the primary reason for sending their child to boarding school such as Harrow International School is that they know they will receive a world-class education. While we appreciate that pupils will have mixed abilities, they will be surrounded by positive influences and fewer distractions at our school, which will enable them to reach their potential. All students will receive the individual care and attention they need during their studies, and where possible, we aim to tailor the schooling to the needs and abilities of each student.
As we are widely regarded as the best international school in Hong Kong offering the British curriculum, we can attract teachers with all the right credentials. These individuals are highly motivated and have a passion for teaching their chosen subject. Students who are finding some subjects challenging will never feel marginalised, or lack support as class sizes are kept to a minimum. Teaching staff at boarding schools have a reputation for always making themselves available for additional mentoring, study or coaching, reinforcing classroom learning.
As students at boarding schools receive this individual care and attention as well as having more personalised lessons, it means that school leavers are more likely to do well at university, in the workplace and their social lives. The balanced, more rounded education they will receive, including a plethora of extracurricular activities, will give all students at top boarding schools the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
An opportunity to learn vital life skills and develop natural abilities
The leading boarding schools are more akin to a community in their own right. Children will be surrounded by students of a similar age along with younger and older pupils. Also, at an international boarding school, they will meet more children from different countries and followers of different religions. It encourages understanding, acceptance and diversity, all of which are vital in the modern world.
Students will be surrounded by exceedingly well-trained staff outside of the classroom that will help foster life skills and encourage students to pursue their hobbies and interests. Our extracurricular activities cover a diverse range of interests, including sport, the arts and sciences, with a variety of trips organised throughout the year. With the magnitude of opportunities on offer, most students enjoy more social interaction and develop healthy habits. All students are encouraged to take risks and take on challenges that help focus their minds and give them clear goals.
Make lifelong friends and learn vital social skills
Of course, a huge amount of emphasis is placed on academic development, but a similar amount of emphasis is placed on developing social skills at most boarding schools. From a young age, students learn to interact with their peers, which fosters understanding, loyalty and forms the basis for lifelong friendships. It is something that is almost impossible to replicate outside of a boarding school environment and leads to greater levels of understanding and cooperation.
We find that there are far higher levels of interaction between students outside of class time, leading to enhanced harmony between friendship groups. As many students are also on campus at the weekends, trips and activities are always organised to ensure that students don’t become bored and maintain good connections with their peers. Perhaps more importantly, as students are always occupied, it stops the children from developing bad habits.
As the environment that we endeavour to create is always supportive and nurturing, many parents see our school as the ideal place for their children to develop academically and as individuals. We try to create a supportive setting that helps maintain the pupils’ motivation, leading to greater academic success. Of course, support and encouragement are also provided by friends and peers within the boarding school.
Spend quality family time together
As most expat parents will be only too aware, family time can be in precious short supply. It is a situation that can put pressure on families and lead to children not getting the attention they deserve. When children attend boarding school, they receive this attention whilst when they return home, it is easier for all to enjoy the time spent together. It tends to build stronger relationships between the parent and child while also helping the students to become more independent.
Once students become settled, we always encourage parents and pupils to remain in regular contact, so they don’t become divorced from the family environment, which is vital. Younger student in particular often find the transition difficult initially, but this is where the pastoral support teams are essential and ensure that students remain busy, comfortable and happy in their daily lives. Our Houses are fun and empathetic places for students to reside, and often the staff are viewed very much as “family”.
What to do if you feel this is the right step for your son or daughter
If you think that a boarding school in Hong Kong is right for you, we strongly suggest that both you and your child pay a visit in person and view the magnificent facilities we have. It helps students and parents to overcome their initial concerns and give everyone the peace of mind and reassurance they need.